Chlamydia – Symptoms & Treatment

Symptoms

Chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease because most people who are infected have no symptoms.  In people who develop symptoms, it may take several weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Urinating more often
  • Bleeding between periods or after sex
  • Pain in the lower stomach area
  • Lower back pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Pain during sex

Symptoms in men include:

  • Watery, white drip or discharge from the penis
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Urinating more often
  • Swollen, tender testicles

Men or women who have anal sex can get chlamydia in the anus, which can cause pain, discharge or bleeding. Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men who have oral sex with an infected partner.

Diagnosing Chlamydia

There are laboratory tests to diagnose chlamydia. Some can be performed on urine; other tests require that a sample be collected from a site such as the penis or cervix. The Sexual Health Clinic uses a urine test for chlamydia in all clients.

Annual chlamydia testing is suggested for the following:

  • All women 25 years old and younger who have sex
  • Older women at risk (a new sex partner you have known for less than six months or multiple sex partners)
  • All pregnant women
  • Men who have sex with men

Stop having sex and see a doctor immediately if you have any of the following genital symptoms:

  • Discharge or burning during urination
  • An unusual sore or rash

Once diagnosed, a person should tell all recent sex partners so they can see a health care provider  and be treated. Avoid sex until treatment is complete.

Treating Chlamydia

Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured with antibiotics. People with HIV and chlamydia should receive the same treatment as those who are HIV negative.

Once diagnosed, a person should tell all recent sex partners so they can see a health care provider  and be treated. Avoid sex until treatment is complete. Women whose sex partners have not been properly treated are at high risk for re-infection. Having repeated infections increases a woman’s risk of serious reproductive health problems, including infertility.

Retesting should be considered for women, especially teens, three to four months after treatment. This is especially true if a woman does not know if her sex partner received treatment.

Long-Term Risks of Untreated Infection

If untreated, chlamydia can develop into serious reproductive and other health problems with both short-term and long-term effects. Like the disease itself, the damage is often “silent.”

In women, untreated infection can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This happens in 10 percent to 15 percent women with untreated chlamydia. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled “pockets” that are hard to cure) and long-lasting pelvic pain. PID can damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (life-threatening pregnancy outside the uterus).

According to the CDC, untreated chlamydia may increase a person’s chance of acquiring or transmitting HIV.

Problems among men are rare. Infection can cause epididymitis, a painful condition of the testicles that can lead to infertility if not treated.

Chlamydia infection can cause reactive arthritis, formerly known as Reiter’s syndrome, although this is rare. Symptoms include arthritis, skin lesions and swelling of the eye and urethra.

More Information

See your health care provider, visit the Sexual Health Clinic webpages or call the Sexual Health Clinic at (702) 759-0702.

Contact Information

Phone:
(702) 759-0702

Updated on: April 10, 2019